‘Money at heart of ath­let­ics coverup’


Vic­tor Conte, the man at the cen­tre of what was the United States big­gest dop­ing scan­dal, be­lieves the latest drug scan­dal to rock the sports world is all part of a coverup to pro­tect the bot­tom line.

Track and field was jolted af­ter a block­buster re­port over the week­end al­leged wide­spread dop­ing in the sport.

Bri­tain s Sun­day Times news­pa­per and Ger­many's ARD/WDR broad­caster said they had ob­tained se­cret data from global ath­let­ics gov­ern­ing body, the IAAF, show­ing en­durance run­ners sus­pected of dop­ing have been win­ning a third of Olympic and world cham­pi­onship medals.

Conte, who ran a lit­tle Bay Area lab­o­ra­tory called BALCO on the out­skirts of San Fran­cisco that be­came the epi­cen­tre of a mas­sive dop­ing scan­dal in the early 2000s, said the re­ports show a lack of gen­uine in­ter­est by world sport s an­tidop­ing chiefs to catch cheaters and smacks of a coverup to pro­tect fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests.

"There is a fi­nan­cial con­flict of in­ter- est," Conte told Reuters on Mon­day. "These tests are bad for busi­ness."

"Many, many, many pos­i­tive drug tests over the years, I per­son­ally know about, have been cov­ered up. The rea­son is ... it is bad busi­ness," he said.

Spon­sors and tele­vi­sion rights hold­ers have be­come in­creas­ingly con­cerned over link­ing their brands and prod­ucts with scan­dal hit events and or­ga­ni­za­tions such as soc­cer s world gov­ern­ing body FIFA, which is cur­rently em­broiled in a wide­spread cor­rup­tion and money laun­der­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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